- by Danny Beveridge
- Published: 18 July 2010
2XU’s Membrane Cycle Jacket is a waterproof softshell item that is part of the 2010 Winter range. Incorporating two rear pockets and a small chest pocket, it’s a great looking item with tasteful reflective highlights, handy for dark winter mornings.
The great advantage of softshell materials is the stretch. It allows a form-fitting style that won’t flap in the wind like lighter and thinner jackets will. Its racing cut is much more flattering too.
The membrane jacket is cut a little bit short in the waist which minimises bunching but does expose a bit more of your body to the wind and rain. Conversely, it is cut rather long in the sleeves. This provides better cover, but make sure you don’t go too big in sizing or you’ll find the sleeves don’t have the same snug fit as the torso.
The soft, fleece-lined inside is downright cosy on a crisp winter’s morning. Being more than just a shell, you can often get away with just a summer weight jersey underneath. Add a quality baselayer and winter weight jersey and you can brave some very cold conditions.
The underside of the sleeve is made of a lighter material that actually allows a bit of breeze through. This cools the jacket down, but can still be negated with long sleeve jerseys or armwarmers.
The high neck is great for keeping out the elements, but the clip is a pain. It requires either two hands or great dexterity as it takes a lot of force to close the snap-button. Obviously the jugular vein is not the best surface to push against, so you need to get another finger down behind there in order to provide enough force. Velcro would have been easier and more adjustable, but less attractive when unfastened.
The Membrane jacket boasts very high waterproofing and breathability figures, around 60% higher than its last incarnation. The material itself is very risilient to water with a waterproofing factor almost three times what you usually find in snow-ski jackets.
It’s 90% brilliant, not totally watertight but adequate in 9 out of 10 situations. So in light or intermittent showers, this jacket will shrug it off with ease.
But it’s no storm jacket; the lighter material running along the bottom of the sleeves also covers parts of the back and its these parts that are most vulnerable to the rain. In fact, even moderate rain will soak through these sections within 10 minutes. In heavier rain, the next thing you’ll notice is a little water seeping in through the zip and where it runs into (and pools in) the back pockets.
The payoff, though, is great breathability. For every square metre of fabric, a maximum of two-thirds of a Litre of moisture will be allowed out per hour. That means that it can theoretically expel as much sweat as you can produce in the top half of your body.
To do that, the moisture has to have some motivation to leave so it will build up before it can get out. But once it builds up just a little bit, you will notice that it stops accumulating very quickly. The soft fleecy inside doesn’t get “soaked” and once you slow down, it will mostly dry out of its own accord, even fully zipped up.
If you live where the temperature will change a lot while you’re out riding, you’ll find this a very versatile jacket. It also saves you having to peel off layers and find pockets to put them in. The only disadvantage is that if it gets REALLY hot, it’s too big to roll up and stow.
Despite coming up a little short in heavy showers, the 2XU Membrane Cycle Jacket provides great warmth and breathability and it still offers adequate protection if you happen to get caught out. Besides, it’s a beautiful garment as far as fit and style goes and there’s no doubting the quality of its construction. But, as always, you pay for the privilege, around $290 in fact. If that sounds like a good investment, then you’ll love it.
2XU gear is available in 2XU Stores and bike shops across Australia as well from the 2XU online shop. www.2XU.com